Working Trials is another minority sport within the UK, where the emphasis is on the dog's ability to use its nose, combined with other activities. This discipline has developed through the work done by police dogs, and the dogs have to undertake exercises such as tracking (following a human scent trail), searching (for dropped articles), jumps, heelwork, retrieves, sendaways, and stays. The big challenge with Working Trials is to get everything right on the day!
Competitions are held throughout the year in Great Britain, and there are training groups who meet up to help each other, but most of the training is usually undertaken on a fairly individual basis. Working Trials are more time consuming in training than most of the other disciplines, due to the need to get the dog to follow longer and older scent patterns. In practice this might mean going out to walk (termed as "setting") a track in the morning without the dog and then returning to use the same track with the dog some hours later – and this track would be half a mile long!
There are Tollers competing successfully in Working Trials, but it has tended to be the males that have achieved more than the bitches. This is in large part due to the size of the jumps that all dogs over 15 inches at the shoulder have to negotiate. They have to clear a 3-foot high jump, a 9-foot long jump and climb up and over a 6-foot scale – the last of these is like a 6-foot fence panel! Within the Toller breed standard the males are significantly larger than the females, and the extra inch in height and on the legs can make a big difference to whether the dog can physically achieve these jumps.
Jump training for Working Trials should not start for Tollers until they are fully mature due to the demanding nature of the activity. But there is plenty of other training for Working Trials that can be started early on in puppyhood.
In Working Trials there is the possibility through achieving a very high percentage of the marks available in competitions, to get titles to put after your dog's name.